Friday, March 27, 2020

Foraging for DIY Pizza During Tough Times

By Cal Orey

Foraging for DIY Pizza During Tough Times

This week going to the supermarket was a challenge. I’m mastering the art of foraging. I found French bread, gourmet cheese, and fresh greens—all my favorite brands, not generic. Thanks to being familiar to the new normal way of food shopping (due to circumstances beyond our control), my pantry was semi-stocked with marinara sauce, olive oil from Monterey, herbs and spices.
Back in the day when I was in my twenties, living in San Jose, hunting and gathering food like people did in the stone age was what I did for survival. Finding food from orchards and fields was part of the nomad-grad school lifestyle. I recall one afternoon my SO came home to our garden apartment. He gave me a gift: A basket filled with fresh corn, lettuce, and tomatoes. He shared his tale of hopping a fence and picking produce for our dinner. It was a fab score and he didn’t get caught foraging food from the land that was not ours. The night before, his mom  brought us a care package of pastrami (for him, a carnivore) and bread and cheese (for me, a semi-vegetarian).

So, this new shopping challenge takes me back in time. This hot sandwich was inspired by my carefree days of being resourceful, in love, and going with the flow.
4 French bread slices (Francisco International French rolls) baguettes, or French bread
½ cup store bought marinara or pesto sauce
¼ red onion, diced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 cup cheese, mozzarella and cheddar, slices or shredded
2 medium large Roma tomatoes, diced
1 cup baby spinach, washed, chopped
Extra virgin oil
Ground black pepper
6 pepperoni slices, cooked, chopped or not (optional)

Put bread on a dish for the microwave or oven at 350 degrees (more crisp this way, quicker the first). Toast until light golden brown. Take out toasted bread and spread with sauce, onion, and garlic. Top with cheese. (Carnivores go ahead and add a few slices cooked pepperoni, chopped or not.) Heat again until hot and cheese is bubbly. Remove from microwave or oven. Top with tomatoes and raw spinach. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper. Slice in small squares or leave in its rectangle form. Serves 2.

Before our eating style changed as we knew it, I’d ring up my favorite pizza spot and order a vegetarian delight. In about thirty minutes, the dog’s bark at the delivery guy would alert me to dinner in a box. These days, sometimes a store is out of bread, eggs, milk and other staples so home-cooking can be a time for adapting to change. But DIY meals can go further (and ingredients can be used for more meals)—and perhaps even healthier. So, this sizzling French bread pizza sandwich with good for you trimmings is quick to make and so good.  Meatless or not it works (for all ages) during tough times. Bon Appetit!

— Cal Orey, M.A., is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, Superfoods, and Essential Oils) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.)  Her website is . 

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